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MIB draft Bill seeks registration of e-papers, digital news media

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has prepared a draft Bill, titled ‘Registration of Press and Periodicals (RPP)” Bill, 2019’, which will replace the existing ‘Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867’. 

The regulation of printing presses and newspapers printed in India and their registration is governed by the PRB Act, 1867, as amended from time to time. 

One of the salient features of the draft is regarding digital news media. As per the draft Bill, the publishers of news on digital media will need to register themselves with the Registrar of Newspapers of India in such manner and giving such particulars as may be prescribed. 

Along with this, the Bill also proposes to have a simple system of registration of e-papers. 

Moreover, the Bill enables the Central Government and the State Governments to frame appropriate rules/ regulations to regulate the criteria/ conditions for issuing Government advertisements in newspapers, accreditation of newspapers and such other facilities for newspapers. 

Other proposals of the draft Bill include: 

  • Removal of existing provisions relating to registration of Books and matters connected thereto. 
  • Doing away with the existing procedure of furnishing of declaration by publishers/ printers before the District Magistrate and its subsequent authentication. 
  • The process of title and registration of periodicals, including newspapers, is proposed to be effected centrally by the Press Registrar General as a simultaneous process. 
  • Doing away with the earlier provision under the PRB Act, 1867 of prosecution of publishers.
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